Press Releases

Simple Steps to Success

Simple Steps Logo

Des Moines Public Library Launches Simple Steps to Success
Read. Write. Sing. Play. Talk.

The foundation for a child’s success in school and life begins the moment they’re born. The more words young children hear, the more likely it is they’ll be ready to read when they start school. Parents and caregivers have an important role in exposing children to new words, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Word development is a family opportunity that requires little time, is free, and will make a big difference to their child’s long-term scholastic success.

To help parents and caregivers understand their critical roles, the Des Moines Public Library is excited to announce a new community awareness initiative called Simple Steps to Success. The goal of the program is to increase awareness about the five pre-literacy skills of reading, writing, singing, playing, and talking.

“We want every family to understand the importance of these five skills,” says Sue Woody, Community Engagement Librarian. “Whether you’re in the car, at the laundromat, or playing at home, it’s easy for families to incorporate these practices into their daily routines.”

Simple Steps to Success will provide parents and caregivers with examples of how those pre-literacy skills can be introduced in a way that takes little time, wherever they are. Through posters, flyers, television and radio campaigns, and outreach in the community, parents and caregivers will be given support and guidance on the ways they can help their children succeed.

“With the Simple Steps program, we want parents and caregivers to understand how easy it is to have a positive impact on their child’s life,” says Woody. “You don’t need to be an expert. It’s about taking advantage of the time you already spend with your child. Even just a few minutes a day makes a big difference.”

This program was initiated by the Des Moines Public Library through a grant provided by Polk County Early Childhood Iowa. A number of community organizations are assisting with the program, including Head Start, Hispanic Educational Resources, Iowa Public Television, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, and Price Chopper.

Materials regarding the Simple Steps to Success initiative are being distributed through preschools and daycare providers across Des Moines. Those materials and additional information about the program are also available on the Simple Steps website –

Polk County Early Childhood Iowa logo

2017 AViD Series

AViD logo Des Moines Public Library Announces Six Authors for AViD Lecture Series
Presenting meaningful conversations with highly acclaimed authors such as Jon Ronson, Nathan Hill, and Eloisa James.

The Des Moines Public Library is excited to announce this year’s full lineup for our Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) lecture series! Now in its 17th year, AViD is a highly acclaimed, free lecture series that connects world-famous authors with an audience from across the state.

Michelle Hoover will open the series on Tuesday, March 7. Her newest book, Bottomland, has been selected as the 2017 All Iowa Reads title. It’s the story of a 1920s Iowa family searching for their two missing daughters. On Tuesday, March 21, renowned romance author Eloisa James will join us in Des Moines. James has written 27 novels and has been recognized with several RITA nominations, solidifying her status as one of today’s best romance writers.

On Wednesday, April 12, Jon Ronson will take the stage. His newest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, looks at public shaming as an internet phenomenon and examines the effects the events have had on those who have been shamed. Maureen Corrigan will take part in AViD in conjunction with the Wonder of Words (WoW) Festival on Saturday, April 22. Corrigan has served as the book critic for the award-winning NPR program Fresh Air for more than 25 years.

Iowa native Nathan Hill comes to Des Moines on Thursday, May 11. Hill is the author of the best-selling novel The Nix. His debut novel, The Nix was recognized by several outlets as one of the best books of 2016. Finally, Heather Gudenkauf wraps up the lecture series on Tuesday, May 30. Gudenkauf, who lives in Dubuque, will be celebrating the release of her seventh novel, Not a Sound.

“This year’s AViD lineup is filled with wonderful speakers,” says Sue Woody, Community Engagement Librarian. “We think our audience will be thrilled to hear from such a distinct and intelligent group of writers. This year’s series includes several people with local ties, worldly thinkers, and discussions on a wide variety of subjects.”

With support from the Des Moines Public Library Foundation and other local donors, including Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities, AViD celebrates great reading, great writing, and the pursuit of life-long learning.

Senior Winter Reading Club Begins in January

senior winter readingSeniors across the metro are invited to take part in the first ever Senior Winter Reading Club! This new book club will bring seniors together for an engaging dialogue about popular books, with a common title connecting people around the city. The first title chosen for the book club is Boys in the Boat, the best-selling book written by Daniel James Brown. The non-fiction book uncovers the story of the nine American rowers that competed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Brown describes how they overcame difficulties and came together to win the gold medal at those Olympics, which were held as Adolf Hitler was coming into power in Germany.

During the initial meeting in January, participants will be given a free large-print copy of the book, a book bag, and other book-related items, while supplies last. During February’s meeting, librarians will serve as moderators, leading discussions about the book. There will be snacks and refreshments at each meeting, and you are not required to be at the first meeting to attend the discussion portion in February.

The Senior Winter Reading Club will give seniors an opportunity to learn more about library services that are available and how they can be useful in their daily life.

The program is being provided by the Des Moines Public Library in partnership with American Enterprise.


  • Southside Senior Center: Wednesday, January 18, & Wednesday, February 15, 12:30-2:30 PM
  • Central Senior Center: Thursday, January 19, & Thursday, February 16, 1:00-3:00 PM
  • North Senior Center: Friday, January 20, & Friday, February 17, 1:00-3:00 PM
  • Northwest Senior Center: Monday, January 23, & Monday, February 27, 12:30-2:30 PM
  • East Side Senior Center: Monday, January 30, & Thursday, February 23, 1:00-3:00 PM

More Storytimes in 2017 at Des Moines Public Library

teddy bear There are more opportunities than ever to go to storytimes at the library! The Des Moines Public Library is expanding its storytime schedule in 2017. Each branch will be hosting one evening storytime a week and one Saturday storytime a month. The goal is to help accommodate working families and families with schedules that do not lend themselves toward our traditional weekday morning and afternoon storytimes.

“Storytimes are a great way for children to connect ideas and pictures with words,” says Janeé Jackson, Youth Services Librarian. “These connections help prepare children to learn how to read. When we tell stories, we’re not just saying words aloud. We’re engaging with the kids, using music, songs, finger plays, and other interactions that are full of energy and excitement.”

Storytimes are a vital part of the library’s mission to model early literacy skills for young children and their families. Children that are consistently read to at a young age are more likely to develop a passion for reading themselves. Storytimes expose children to new words and sounds in an exciting and entertaining fashion.

For parents, storytimes also offers the opportunity to get out of the house and connect with other parents and caregivers that have young children. Parents also learn about all the resources that the library has to offer.

“We have a fantastic selection of books, movies, and music at the library,” says Jackson. “There’s something for every member of the family in our collection. You’ll be able to keep your family entertained for hours on-end.”

Take advantage of all that we have to offer at the Des Moines Public Library! Our storytimes range in ages and themes – be sure to check out the ones that interest you and your child!

Our storytime schedule is as follows:

Baby Rhyme Time | ages 0 – 18 months
Social storytimes for babies and their caregivers featuring rhymes, songs, bounces, and a story.

  • Tuesdays, 10:15 AM | Franklin Avenue Library
  • Wednesdays, 10:15 AM | Central Library

Toddler Storytime | ages 18 months – 3 years
Introduce children to reading with engaging activities.

  • Tuesdays, 10:30 AM: Toddler I (ages 18 months – 2 years) | East Side Library
  • Tuesdays, 11:00 AM: Toddler II (ages 2 – 3 years) | East Side Library
  • Wednesdays, 10:00 AM | South Side Library
  • Wednesdays, 10:15 AM and 10:50 AM | Franklin Avenue Library
  • Thursdays, 10:30 AM | North Side Library
  • Fridays, 10:15 AM | Central Library

Preschool Storytime | ages 3 – 6 years
Children will learn valuable skills for school while listening to stories and participating in songs, rhymes, and activities.

  • Mondays, 10:15 AM | Franklin Avenue Library
  • Wednesdays, 10:15 AM | Forest Avenue Library
  • Thursdays, 10:00 AM | South Side Library
  • Thursdays, 10:15 AM | Central Library
  • Thursdays, 10:30 AM | East Side Library

Evening Family Storytime | entire family
Bring the entire family for stories and activities.

  • Mondays, 6:30 PM | South Side Library
  • Tuesdays, 6:15 PM | Franklin Avenue Library
  • Tuesdays, 6:30 PM | Central Library
  • Wednesdays, 6:30 PM | North Side Library
  • Fridays, 5:00 PM | East Side Library (Thank Goodness It’s Friday Storytime)

Citizen Budget Engagement

Speak Up DSM

Help Support Our Library!

The City of Des Moines Has been hosting a series of Citizen Engagement Meetings to discuss the 2017-2018 City of Des Moines Budget and how it will affect city departments.

The next meeting will concern Operating and Capital Budgets. For the library, this means hours of operation, staffing, and other library services.

The meeting will be held on:

Date: Monday, December 12
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Franklin Avenue Library, 5000 Franklin Ave, Des Moines, 50310

For more information call 283-4152.

We need your input during this very important discussion!

Learn more about upcoming Citizen Engagement meetings for the City’s budget »

We need your input!

The City of Des Moines will be hosting a series of Citizen Engagement Meetings to discuss the 2017-2018 CDM Budget and how it will affect city departments.

The first meeting will concern Community Enrichment and will focus on the Library, Parks & Recreation and Civil & Human Rights.

Date: Wednesday, September 28th

Location: Bright Grandview Golf Course in the Club House, 2401 East 29th Street, Des Moines, IA 50317

Time: 6:00 PM

For more information call 283-4152

We need citizen input for this very important discussion!

We hope you can attend!

September Is Library Card Sign-Up Month!

Take advantage of all your local public library has to offer – sign up for a library card today!

September is Library Card Sign-up Month! Each September, libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Libraries are among the most popular and appreciated public places in America. They are long-standing institutions that provide free literacy programs to young children, a wide variety of reading material, internet access, and so much more. A library card bestows parents with free access to a number of books for their children. This is vital, as the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.

New research indicates that reading books can actually increase your lifespan. According to a Yale University study published in Social and Science Medicine, people who read for 30 minutes a day lowered their risk of death by 12%. As a researcher on the study explained, “Books engage the reader's mind more—providing more cognitive benefit, and therefore increasing the lifespan.

A library card provides important access to information for every member of the community. For some, that includes finding books on specific topics, such as history, travel, or philosophy. For others, that means being connected to the internet. Public libraries are the number one point of online access for people without internet connections at home, school, or work. Libraries also help community members with job hunting skills, such as interviews, resumes, and cover letters, through free career assistance classes and workshops.

Signing up for a library card is easy – and best of all, it’s free! Head to your local Des Moines Public Library and sign up for a library card today!

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Award-Winning Author Jennifer Wilson to Visit East Side Library

Her newest letter, Water, tackles an important subject in an entertaining way

jennifer wilson waterWater quality is an important, hotly-debated topic in Iowa, but one local author is making it funny and sexy as well. Join the East Side Library for a lively discussion with local author Jennifer Wilson about her newest novel, Water, on Monday, September 26, at 6:30 PM. For Wilson, it’s an attempt to help people understand the water quality issue from the perspective of both farmers and water customers.

The story is about a Des Moines reporter assigned to an environmental story. As she starts to chase down leads, she discovers that someone is poisoning water in Iowa. As she chases the story that could make her career, she gets caught in a confrontation between farmers, government workers, and citizens – and also gets caught in a love triangle with a source.

Wilson is a long-time writer with bylines in numerous magazines and newspapers, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, and the Chicago Tribune. Her first book, Running Away to Home, received the best Nonfiction of 2011 Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. It also landed her the Emerging Iowa Author Award in 2012.

Water is published by Des Moines company Raygun. Books will be for sale at the East Side Library during the program, and Wilson will sign books following the event.

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Des Moines Public Library Welcomes Romance Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The critically-acclaimed creator of the Chicago Stars series will speak at the Franklin Avenue Library on September 13

susan elizabeth phillipsThe Des Moines Public Library welcomes New York Times bestselling romance author Susan Elizabeth Phillips to Des Moines! Phillips will be speaking at the Franklin Avenue Library on Tuesday, September 13, at 6:30 PM.

Phillips is the author of the popular Chicago Stars series and the Wynette, Texas books. She has written several other stand-alone novels, with 22 titles to her name in all. Phillips has won the Romance Writers of America Favorite Book of the Year award a record five times in her illustrious career. She was inducted into the Romance Writers Hall of Fame in 2001.

She’s currently promoting her newest book in the Chicago Stars series, First Star I See Tonight, the first book in the series in nearly a decade. The book pairs a no-nonsense former football hero and a feisty female detective who go head-to-head in a funny, fresh story. First Star I See Tonight has drawn very several favorable reviews; Kirkus Reviews calls it a “thoroughly enjoyable novel” that “delivers a swift kick to the heart,” while Publishers Weekly says it’s “an utterly delightful standalone gambol.”

The program with Phillips begins at 6:30 PM at the Franklin Avenue Library (5000 Franklin Avenue). Books will be available for purchase, and Phillips will autograph books following the event.

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Forest Avenue Library Launches Makerspace Program in September

The new initiative offers an opportunity to develop career skills that may prove useful in the workforce.

forest ave makerspaceThe Forest Avenue Library is excited to announce they are starting a makerspace program for adults! The Forest Avenue Library Makerspace is a place for library customers to create and print 3D objects, design and control electronic circuits, program micro-controllers, and learn about how these skills are used in today’s jobs and tomorrow’s careers.

The program starts on Monday, September 13, with an open house. The public is invited to see the tools that the library will be working with, including a new 3D printer. You’ll be able to ask questions about the classes and how you can utilize the new machines being offered to the public.

Following the open house, the library will host weekly introduction classes. There will be classes on using tech-related items like an Arduino UNO or Raspberry Pi. There will also be classes on skills such as the Python Programming Language and Computer-Assisted Design. There will be more open houses held occasionally on Saturdays throughout the rest of the year as well.

“Technology is constantly changing and evolving, and many library patrons may not be able to afford to purchase the necessary tools to stay current,” says librarian Phillip Delgado, instructor of the makerspace classes. “The goal of the Forest Avenue Library Makerspace is to provide access to some of these new technologies and help patrons learn how to use them.”

Class size is limited, so pre-registration for each class will be required. Each of the classes will be repeated several times throughout the fall, and advanced classes will be scheduled in the future based on interest. Registration for each class is free. There is a $5 deposit required for use of the 3D printer.

The calendar of classes is as follows:

  • Sept 12 – Open House
  • Sept 19 – Arduino Basics
  • Sept 26 – CAD Basics
  • Oct 3 – Python Basics
  • Saturday, Oct 8 – Open House
  • Oct 10 – Arduino Basics
  • Oct 17 – CAD Basics
  • Oct 24 – Raspberry Pi Basics
  • Saturday, Oct 29 – Open House
  • Oct 31 – 3D Printing Basics
  • Nov 7 - Python Basics
  • Saturday, Nov 12 – Open House
  • Nov 14 – Arduino Basics
  • Nov 21 – CAD Basics
  • Nov 28 – Raspberry Pi Basics
  • Dec 5 – Python Basics
  • Dec 12 – Arduino Basics
  • Saturday, Dec 17 – Open House
  • Dec 19 – CAD Basics

The public is encouraged to visit the open house and see what the Forest Avenue Library Makerspace has to offer. You can sign up for classes by calling 283-4152 ext. 3. You can also do so by finding the class on the Events Calendar.

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